The Year of Doing It

Favorite Friend and I were on a road trip last week, and for a significant portion of the drive, we lamented about how we’re tired of just talking about doing things and how we want to actually start doing them. So we have declared 2015 to be The Year of Doing It.

My “thing,” as you might have guessed, is writing.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. Instead of making random sentences with my elementary school spelling words, like we were supposed to, I turned them into elaborate stories about (and my mom will have to check me on this, but I think this is right) a Giant Yellow Invisible Chicken. I’ve rarely struggled meeting minimum word counts on assignments. When I was a teenager, I declared that I would someday have a short story published in The New Yorker. 

The trouble is, I don’t write. Not much, anyway.

Last week, I stumbled across a blog—which I now can’t find and so I’m wondering if it dreamed it—that instructed would-be writers to “just sit in the chair and write.” Don’t edit. Just write. Don’t worry about how pretty your blog looks. Just write. Don’t get addicted to likes and comments, just write. Don’t think about SEO. Just write. For an hour. Every day.

This morning, after spending a little time in scripture and trying to make nice with my [he]elliptical, I sat down at my big, square kitchen table for my hour of writing. And for the first 10 minutes of that hour, I just stared at the blinking cursor, trying to come up with something to say.

And this is where the fear comes in.

I haven’t written much in the past because I have a nasty internal editor who tells me I have nothing to offer. “Everything you have to say has been said before–and better,” she says. “Who the hell do you think you are? Why would anyone want to read your stuff?” she says. “Just pack it up and go eat some ice cream or something,” she says. (Which is just plain mean, because I don’t have any.)

I find myself staring at the stupid, blinking cursor and thinking, “What if she’s right? Oh no. She is right. Of course she’s right. I’ve only been at this for six days, and already I can’t think of anything compelling to say. This is the dumbest idea ever.”

I’m not going to listen to that voice. In fact, if I could flip her the bird and storm out of the room, I would. (Except the flipping-her-the-bird part, because I’d feel terrible about that five minutes later, wondering if I’d hurt her feelings.)

For me, The Year of Doing It means sitting in the chair and writing for an hour every day. And some days what I have to offer is going to suck, because if I’m worried about being brilliant and hilarious and profound all the time, one of two things would happen: I’ll get fired from my real job because I’ll be laboring over posts for hours instead doing what I’m actually paid  to do (which is kind of exactly what happened yesterday). Or, and this is more likely, I’ll quit. Again. I don’t want to do that.

I’m not going to do that. 

So, what’s your “It” for the year?

1 Comment

  1. Betsy Zadorozny   •  

    Many years ago when I taught sixth grade English, my students wrote 300 words every day in a spiral notebook about anything that was on their mind. If they couldn’t think of anything, they could copy out of a book …which they never did. They skipped lines in their notebook so I could write comments if I had something to say to them. They didn’t know which ones I would read but I did tell them what they said was between us. If I wanted to share something, I would ask their permission. They had about an hour to do this. It was one of the most effective assignments and actually became one they looked forward to doing. I read about it in a teacher magazine and decided to try it. I enjoy your blogs and hope you will continue. I do think you have a gift with language. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *